What Were Planets Called in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered what planets were called in ancient times? The study of astronomy has been around for thousands of years, and people have been observing the stars and planets for just as long. In this article, we’ll explore the names that ancient cultures gave to the planets that we know today.

Ancient Greek Names

The Greeks were some of the first people to study astronomy, and they named the planets after their gods. For example, the planet Venus was named after the goddess of love and beauty, while Mars was named after the god of war. Here are some of the other Greek names for planets:

  • Jupiter – named after Zeus, king of all gods
  • Saturn – named after Cronus, father of Zeus
  • Mercury – named after Hermes, messenger of the gods
  • Uranus – named after Ouranos, god of the sky
  • Neptune – named after Poseidon, god of the sea

Roman Names

The Romans borrowed many of their gods from Greek mythology, so it’s no surprise that they also used some similar names for planets. However, they also had a few unique names:

  • Mars – named after Mars, god of war (same as Greek)
  • Venus – named after Venus, goddess of love and beauty (same as Greek)
  • Jupiter – same as Greek
  • Saturn – same as Greek
  • Mercury – same as Greek
  • Neptune – same as Greek
  • Uranus – originally called “Caelus” in Latin (meaning “sky”), but later renamed after the Greek god Uranus

Babylonian Names

The Babylonians were also avid astronomers, and they named the planets after their gods as well. However, their gods had different names than the Greek and Roman gods:

  • Jupiter – named after Marduk, king of the gods
  • Saturn – named after Ninurta, god of agriculture and war
  • Mars – named after Nergal, god of war and the underworld
  • Venus – named after Ishtar, goddess of love and fertility
  • Mercury – named after Nabu, god of wisdom and writing


In conclusion, the names that ancient cultures gave to the planets were often tied to their beliefs about gods and mythology. While we now know these planets by different names, it’s fascinating to see how different cultures interpreted the night sky. Whether you’re a fan of astronomy or just curious about history, learning about these ancient names can be a fun way to explore our universe.